“PRICE OF MISERY!”
TEXT: Matt. 26:6-16
INTRO: What would you sell your soul for? Sound like a dumb question? Yet, there have been many people who sold out their soul for a poor bargain in life. Is there something you consider so valuable that you would not sell your soul for no matter what? What we value most, we will sacrifice most for!
ILLUS: In the final years of our imprisonment, the North Vietnamese moved us from small cells with one or two prisoners to large rooms with as many as 30-40 men to a room. We preferred this situation for the companionship and strength we could draw from our fellow prisoners. In addition to moving us to new quarters, out captors also let us receive packages and letters from home. Many men received word from their families for the first time in several years. The improved conditions were a result of public pressure put on the North Vietnamese by the American public.
In our cell
was one Navy officer, Lt. Commander Mike Christian. Over a period of time Mike
had gathered bits and pieces of red and white cloth from various packages. Using
a piece of bamboo he had fashioned into a needle, Mike sewed a
Every night in our cell, Mike would put his shirt on the wall, and we would say the pledge of allegiance. I know that the pledge of allegiance may not be the most important aspect of our day now, but I can tell you that at the time it was the most important aspect of our lives.
This had been going on for some time until on of the guards came in as we were reciting our pledge. They ripped the flag off the wall and dragged Mike out. He was beaten for several hours and then thrown back into the cell.
Later that night, as we were settling down to sleep on the concrete slabs that were our beds, I looked over to the spot where the guards had thrown Mike. There, under the solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling, I saw Mike. Still bloody and his face swollen beyond recognition, Mike was gathering bits and pieces of cloth together. He was sewing a new American flag. -- John McCain. From the files of Leadership.
Is our commitment to Christ the most valuable thing in our life? What would you trade for it, what could tempt you to sidetrack your relationship with God and sell your soul?
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that any thing we would trade for our salvation is a bad bargain! What’s worth living for is what’s worth dying for! Judas lived for gold, and he died for it, he had Christ but traded it for cash … and ended up bankrupt in soul and body!
A. Savior’s Message 26:6
1. Passover was near and Jesus and some others are in the home of a man named Simon the Leper, this makes a powerful statement!
a. Passover as a Holy time would have required keeping away from things that could make one unclean … such as a leper!
b. It is more than likely that Simon the Leper here has already been healed by Jesus or they would not have gathered there in his home.
c. If healed, the title simply is kept to remind him and others of what good thing God had delivered him from and to distinguish him from other “Simons” which was a common name at that time.
2. Simon the Leper is so called not because he still had it, but to keep for all time the testimony of God’s healing power in his life, they would not likely have reclined in his home if he had still been unclean!
a. While his problem is still remembered in his name, Christ’s presence in his home is remembered for his healing.
b. Simon is so much in contrast to the one among them who was already clean outwardly, but leprous internally … and Judas’ reputation continues on as a disgust to all!
ILLUS: In Liverpool, England, on Good Friday morning children carry a straw-stuffed effigy of Judas from house to house demanding money. They cry, "Judas is short a penny for his breakfast." Later the figure is burned in a bonfire. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
3. Simon’s joy in having Christ in his home removed any negative title that others still remembered him by!
a. The atmosphere of these moments makes the act of Judas even more poignant!
b. Why would Judas trade his soul for 30 pieces of silver when he stood in the home of man healed of leprosy, with a man like Lazarus only days earlier raised from the dead present also, and in the very presence of Christ?
c. It was a bad bargain for Judas in every respect!
B. Selfless Ministry 26:7
1. Consider the people in this home:
a. Simon the healed leper:
b. Lazarus who was recently raised from the dead (probably only days earlier):
c. Mary & Martha, both women that often had a hard time in Jewish society for consideration as equals with men.
d. Jesus’ disciples:
e. A traitor named Judas!
f. And of course Jesus, the answer to all their needs!
2. In the moment of realization by Mary that Jesus intended to die for them all, she is moved to offer the best she has to Christ – an act of devotion by giving an expensive perfume!
a. This perfume cost approximately a year’s wages for the average worker of that day!
b. Mary does not stop to think about this act of devotion, as her heart is moved she acts!
ILLUS: The hand must be quick if it is to make an impression in melted wax. Once the wax is cool, you will press the seal in vain. It becomes cold and hard in just a few moments, therefore let the work be quickly done. When men's hearts are melted under the preaching of the Word, or by sickness, or the loss of friends, believers should be very eager to stamp the truth on the prepared mind. Such opportunities are to be seized with holy eagerness. If you love the Lord Jesus, hasten with the seal before the wax is cool. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)
3. Her selfless act stands in stark contrast to Judas’ act following this time together.
a. She gave up costly gold (expensive perfume) for devotion to Christ.
b. Judas gave up devotion to Christ for costly gold. (or literally silver!)
4. For Mary this was the best bargain, for Judas it was a bad bargain!
a. Mary will be remembered forever for her great choice!
b. Judas will be remembered forever for his bad deal!
c. What will you be remembered for?
A. Superiority Mentality 26:8-13
1. Comparing all the Gospel accounts together, it is apparent that Judas voices out loud his disapproval of Mary’s act while the others join in together in agreement with him.
a. Their response to Mary’s act of devotion in giving up a year’s wages of expensive perfume for a moment with Christ is a practical one, just not a spiritual one!
b. They protest the “waste” as they call it 26:8
2. They assume a superior compassion over Mary’s, while Mary “wastes” this on Jesus’ they are thinking of how many people could have benefited from the money instead of this momentary personal “waste”.
a. We know from John 12:4 that it was Judas that asked “why this waste?”
b. The so-called concern of Judas’ is poignant in light of the fact that John also refers to Judas as the “son of perdition” – the Greek for “perdition” here and the Greek word translated “waste” in Matt. 26:8 is the exact same word!!! (apwleia - apoleia) which translates literally as “waste.” Thus, John is literally calling Judas the “son of WASTE” while it is Judas who is challenging Mary for creating a “waste” here – an interesting play on words!
3. That Judas could attempt to hide his sinful heart behind an apparently great concern for the poor shows the destruction pride has in the human heart.
a. It was not the poor Judas was concerned about, it was lining his own pockets he was concerned about; he just makes it sound spiritual!
b. We know his motive was selfish from John 12:6 where John tells us plainly that Judas was a thief who dipped into the money for personal use from time to time.
4. Whenever we attempt to hide our sin by the appearance of deep spirituality we discover that not only is our spirituality not fulfilling, but it is so much more work that if we truly rested in Christ in the first place!
ILLUS: Henry Ward Beecher says, "There was a man in the town where I was born who used to steal all his firewood. He would get up on cold nights and go and take it from his neighbors' woodpiles. A computation was made, and it was ascertained that he spent more time and worked harder to get his fuel than he would have been obliged to if he had earned it in an honest way at ordinary wages. And this thief is a type of thousands of men who work a great deal harder to please the devil than they would have to work to please God." -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)
5. It is so much easier to surrender to Christ than to pretend to follow Him!
a. Judas spent more time appearing to be spiritual and thus not enjoying it then if he had truly sold out to Christ and enjoyed the fruit of being born again!
b. What about you? Do you find yourself acting like a Christian without the joy of really being one?
6. No doubt Judas was miserable, bad deals usually make us feel this way and he had stuck the worst deal of all time!
a. Jesus attempts to correct the poor focus of His disciples.
b. Judas was only thinking about his pocket book.
c. The other disciples were only thinking about the poor.
d. Mary was only thinking of adoring her savior!
e. Who do you think had the better deal going?
B. Serving Money 26:14-16
1. Judas had always had two things close to him at all times:
b. The money purse. (He was the treasurer of the group)
2. The things we are closest too have the biggest possibilities of becoming the things we are most devoted to.
a. If we have no time for God and yet make more time for other things, what do you think will draw your greatest devotion?
b. What is dear to you?
ILLUS: It is startling to think that Satan can actually come into the heart of a man in such close touch with Jesus as Judas was. And more--he is cunningly trying to do it today. Yet he can get in only through a door opened from the inside. "Every man controls the door of his own life." Satan can't get in without our help. -- S. D. Gordon in The Bent-Knee Time. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 10.
3. For a man that acted concerned about what the poor was to get he asks the chief priests, “What are you willing to GIVE ME if I hand him over to you?” 26:15.
a. Judas had exchanged his love for God for love of gold – not a good deal!
b. He exchanged the eternal for the temporal!
c. Even though close to Jesus at all times he fell into this trap, so can we!
4. Why do we serve the Lord, is it for what we can get out of it, or what we can give because of it?
a. Mary’s selfless act, her attitude toward material things reflected a heart that put Christ first, and it will be remembered everywhere the gospel is preached!
b. Judas’ selfish act, his attitude toward material things reflected a heart that put cash first, and it will be remembered everywhere the gospel is preached too!
c. Have you ever really examined why you are here?
5. Lest we answer this question with the thought that we have been Christians a long time, we couldn’t possibly mess up, think about this, Judas may have been sincere in the beginning, he lost it after long exposure and closeness to Christ, not in the early stages!
a. So often our fires die down the more familiar we are with Christ and Christianity.
b. Sustaining our commitment to Christ is harder than making it in the first place!
ILLUS: It's scary to realize that most of the people who failed in Scriptures failed in the second half of their lives. -- Joe Aldrich, Leadership, Vol. 13, no. 3.
6. It is sobering to realize that most of those who fall away do so in the later parts of their lives:
a. Solomon may have had an end of life spiritual comeback, but wasted so many years, read Ecclesiastes to catch this!
b. David was older too when he made his big mistakes.
c. Saul was well established as king when he drifts away and is lost.
7. Judas sold Christ out for 30 pieces of silver, the average price of a slave in his day, or about 4 months wages for the average worker!
a. Not only he did sell his soul for 4 months wages or the price of a slave, but he becomes a slave to sin and never does live more than a few days after this, he finds no joy in the bargain he makes!
b. For momentary gain he trades eternal bliss!
c. What values do we place on our commitment to Christ, what are we spending our energies and time for?
CONCLUSION: What is the worst bargain of all? To trade your eternal soul for temporary satisfaction! Mary traded a year’s wages for a few moments to worship Christ and enjoyed an eternity of benefits, Judas traded an eternity of joy for 4 months wages and enjoyed it for less than a day! What a bad bargain! What bargain is your eye on?